It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day for women who rock or roll in another musical direction on the local scene.
From pop, punk and blues to folk, country, and rhythm and blues, the inaugural NewBo Women’s Music Festival from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, will be filling not only a gap in the area’s Labor Day festivities, but a programming gap in general.
The aim is “to highlight the amazing female-identifying members of our community, and the art and music that they are adding to the Corridor’s culture,” said organizer Logan Adam Schultz, director of programming and community engagement at the festival’s host, NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids.
Schultz, also a singer and actor on local stages, admitted he’s being a little bit selfish in launching this free festival. When he was interviewing for his new position at the market, he was asked to pitch a Labor Day weekend event.
“We noticed there was a gap in programming, and so NewBo City Market was interested in producing something,” he said.
“During my research and my pitch for that, I came across the old Iowa Women’s Music Festival that used to take place south of Cedar Rapids, in Iowa City. That had kind of just dissolved away, and what I wanted to do was bring that back, because I thought there was still a need, and to make it have a broad appeal — very mainstream and accessible, and not just financially.
“As we were talking about it, we got really excited. I’m a performer, and I know a ton of the women in this area who I know are making great music. I just wanted to highlight that. I noticed that even some of the other local festivals — newbo evolve’s Sunday local lineup — there just wasn’t a lot of female representation,” he said.
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“There are artists out there that I know are making incredible music that I adore, that I wanted to share with people. So in a lot of ways, it’s selfish. I just wanted to highlight these people who are creating fantastic things, and I happen to have the platform to do it.
“It’s just become something that’s so needed in this day and age — that idea of making sure everyone gets the chance to have their art heard.”
The business side of the industry also will be explored during a “Smart Women in Music” panel at 3 p.m.
“It’s a mixture of people — great women who work in the area — talking about how to get involved in the industry at the regional level,” Schultz said.
Panelists include festival performers Alisabeth Von Presley and members of the Awful Purdies, and others with expertise in the women’s Midwest music industry, who can offer advice for women who “have a great talent or skill or great art to share, but just don’t know how to share it,” Schultz said.
“We’re trying to make (the festival) a bit educational, as well. Even for children, West Music is holding their ‘instrument petting zoo’ throughout the day, so children can start learning if this is something that interests them. Who knows — we might be inspiring that next generation to be up onstage in a couple of years.”
Most activities will take place outdoors, on the market’s permanent stage and on a second stage being built for the festival. Vendors and small women-run businesses will be set up outdoors, and the indoor market will stay open until 8 p.m. The instrument petting zoo and some workshops will be staged indoors.
Corporate sponsorships and market resources will allow organizers to pay the artists, yet keep admission free for audiences.
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“We’re trying to keep costs low,” Schultz said, “while still producing something of quality that highlights what’s great about women in our area.”
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WHAT: NewBo Women’s Music Festival
WHERE: NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday (9/1)
FEATURES: Music on multiple stages in the Newbo Market Yard; “Smart Women in Music” panel discussion at 3 p.m. outdoors; NewBo City Market indoors open until 8 p.m.
MUSIC LINEUP: 11 a.m. Oceana, noon Tanya English Band, 1 p.m. Book Jack Duo, 2 p.m. Lexi Parr & The Rubyblonde Band, 4 p.m. Alicia Monee, 5 p.m. Scarlet Letter, 6 p.m. Awful Purdies, 7 p.m. NAOMI, 8 p.m. Alisabeth Von Presley